Facebook to launch new audio apps

Facebook Inc. will announce on Monday a suite of new audio products, including its own take on Clubhouse, as well as a push into podcasts aided by Spotify Technology S.A., Recode reported, citing sources it didn’t identify.

Some products won’t be available until later this spring, Recode said. The plan includes an audio-only version of Messenger Rooms, the video chat feature Facebook introduced last year to compete with Zoom Video Communications Inc.

Facebook will also add a Clubhouse-like product that allows users to talk on a virtual stage, and a feature that lets users post voice messages on their newsfeeds. Furthermore, it will launch a podcast discovery product in connection with Spotify, Recode said.

The plans come just as Clubhouse closed a Series C funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Bloomberg News reported earlier that the round would value the one-year-old startup at about $4 billion, quadruple the estimate from January.

Multiple social media giants are working to create their own versions of the popular Clubhouse product. Twitter Inc. introduced one called Spaces. Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn and Slack Technologies Inc. have also said they’re working on similar features for their networks.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, appeared live during a Clubhouse discussion this year, and the company ordered multiple teams to research audio-related chat products that could rival Clubhouse, people familiar with the efforts have said.

“We’ve been connecting people through audio and video technologies for many years, and are always exploring new ways to improve that experience for people,” Facebook told Recode.

Separately, Apple Inc. is preparing a subscription podcast service it may announce as early as Tuesday, Recode reported, without specifying how it obtained the information. Apple declined to comment to Recode.

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Facebook to launch new audio apps